Ralph's World

Ralph's World: The Rhyming Circus

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Ralph's World is basically a rock & roll band for children led by singer/guitarist Ralph Covert, and much of the music on this, their first album of new material in nearly three years, reveals the heavy influence of that children's favorite, the Beatles. Especially on the first half of The Rhyming Circus, the group adopts a mid-'60s pop/rock sound with chiming guitars and Covert's earnest vocals, though they sometimes recall other music of a similar style that's been made since. "Polka Dot Shirt," for example, has the feel of Prince's "Raspberry Beret." The Beatles remain a touchstone that Covert isn't shy about referencing, however, as he does at the end of "Do the Math," which copies the long piano chord that closed "A Day in the Life." After that song, Ralph's World does take some stylistic side paths, venturing into a Western sound for "Rodeo Peg" that has something in common with "Ghost Riders in the Sky," and even jazzing things up on "Bad Bug Ball." They turn to outright country parody on "Folsom Daycare Blues," an acknowledged rewrite of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" that will make youngsters wonder what their parents are laughing at. Ralph's World sometimes tries for education through music, as on "Abby's Alphabet Soup," which offers instruction on the alphabet, as well as "Do the Math," with its references to geometric shapes. But most of the time, they're content to entertain children and the big people who hang around with them.

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